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Ciambella Grandmother's Pastry Ring

Source: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
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Rating: 5   Reviews: 1 See Reviews
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Active Time:  25 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour
  Makes 10 servings
Most Italian desserts are purchased from the local pastry shop, but some are habitually baked at home, and each region has one or two that are its specialty. Ciambella is my native Romagna's traditional home-baked cake, and as with other home-nurtured traditions, every household has its own version. Some use anise along with, or in place of, the lemon peel; others add white wine to the batter. Each is as "authentic" as the next. The one below is the recipe my grandmother used and like all tastes one grows up with, it is the one I like best.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
4 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar, available in pharmacies as potassium bitartrate, and 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda OR 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
The peel of one lemon grated without digging into the white pith beneath
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
2 eggs
A heavy baking sheet
butter and flour for smearing and dusting the baking sheet.
Ciambella Grandmother's Pastry Ring Recipe at
Put the butter in a saucepan and melt it without getting it too hot. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, melted butter, cream of tartar, bicarbonate, a tiny pinch of salt, grated lemon peel, and the lukewarm milk. Add 1 whole egg and the white of the second egg. Add the yolk of the second egg, less 1 teaspoonful of it, which you will set aside for painting the ring later. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients, then turn them out onto a work surface and knead the mixture for a few minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape the dough into a large sausage roll about 2 inches thick, and make it into a ring. Pinch the ends together to close the ring. Brush the surface with the teaspoonful of yolk you have set aside and 1 teaspoon water, and score with a few shallow diagonal cuts.

Smear the baking sheet with butter, sprinkle it with flour, then turn it over and give it a rap on the counter to shake off excess flour. Put the ring in its center and place the sheet in the upper level of the preheated oven. Bake for 35 minutes, it should rise to nearly double its original size. Transfer to a cooling rack. When cold, wrap in foil or store in a tin biscuit box, but do not refrigerate. It tastes best served the following day.

Recipe courtesy of
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
by Marcella Hazan
Published by Alfred A. Knopf,
a division of Random House Inc.

Recipe reprinted by permission of . All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Part of These Recipe Collections Find Similar Recipes »
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Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Makes 10 servings
Calories: 351
Fat. Total: 12g
Fiber: 2g
Carbohydrates, Total: 55g
Sodium: 19mg
% Cal. from Fat: 31%
Cholesterol: 70mg
Protein: 7g
Spotlight Recipe Review See all 1 reviews »

Rating: 5
by: jane Reviewed: 07/06/2009
Been making this for 15 years
so I quess you'd say I adore it, I am baking this this morning!!!!
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